What if the government guaranteed everyone a basic amount of income, regardless whether you work or not, let's just say $10,000. If you were broke, at least it could help pay for a roof over your head. If you didn't need it, you could put it away for an emergency. This idea has been kicking around since the 18th Century, with some famous proponents including Martin Luther King, Jr. Some famous conservative economists like Milton Friedman, who called it a negative income tax. This money would take the place of welfare, unemployment, maybe even housing vouchers and food stamps, all of which are costly and require big administrative costs.
Money for Nothin': The Case for Universal Basic Income
Andy Stern - Service Employees International Union - @AndyStern_DC, Robert Greenstein - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - @GreensteinCBPP, Veronique de Rugy - George Mason University - @veroderugy, Dylan Matthews - Vox - @dylanmatt